In the rush to get all the gear you need for your group ski trip, it might be tempting just to throw some regular old socks in your bag and call it good. But there is nothing more miserable than uncomfortable feet when you are skiing (except maybe freezing hands) – whether it’s from the cold or something rubbing your foot the wrong way, the tiniest problem can turn a perfect ski day into a miserable ski day. You are safest when you choose actual ski socks, and you want to choose them wisely.
Socks made for skiing are often thicker on the shin to cushion against the boot, and a little thinner on the bottom to keep down the bulkiness inside the boot, they keep your feet dry and warm, and they help prevent blisters and other unpleasantness. Regular old socks won’t do that for you.
Choosing the Right Ski Socks
First, make sure the sock fits properly.
You don’t want any loose material bunching up around your toes, nor do you want it to be squeezing or pulling on your toes too much. Be sure that they are taller than your ski boot so you have cushion at the top edge of the boot.
Second, choose a breathable, wicking sock.
Imagine your damp feet dangling from ski lift in 20 degree weather and it’s obvious why this is important. By choosing a sock made from a breathable, wicking material, you can keep your feet dry from perspiration, and therefore warm. There are a variety of materials that can accomplish this, often a combination of wool and synthetics. Look for wicking on the label.
Third, choose the proper weight.
The right weight depends on the conditions – if it’s really cold go heavier, if it’s going to be just at freezing, go lighter. It also depends on your level of exertion on the slopes. If you tend to work hard and burn it up all day, you will generate a lot of body heat and need lighter-weight socks. If you are more of a casual cruiser, you might want something a little heavier.
An important note, the thickest socks aren’t always the best. Boots are now designed to be insulating, so it doesn’t necessarily fall to the sock to do all the work of warming your feet. In fact, a thicker sock may make your boot too snug and eliminate the insulating layer of air. This can make your foot colder! (Hint: wear your ski socks when you get fitted for your boots.)
Do you have a favorite style or material of sock for skiing?